Good News About Teen Online Behavior

Jim Liebelt

McAfee's just released study, "The Secret Life of Teens" is actually a reassuring portrait of how most young people are exercising reasonable caution in their use of technology. The study, conducted by Harris Interactive, included interviews with almost 1,400 10- to 17-year-olds.

The survey reported that "almost half of youth (46 percent) admit to having given out their personal information to someone they didn't know over the Internet," but when they break it down, the survey reveals that "when they do reveal personal information online, youth are most likely to share their first name (36 percent), age (28 percent), and/or e-mail address (19 percent). Only around 1 in 10 have given out slightly more personal information like a photo of themselves, their school name, last name, cell phone number, or a description of what they look like.

It's also reassuring to read in the study report that "youth draw the line at giving out personally identifiable information such as their parents' names, home address, or school address, and virtually no teens report having given out their Social Security number."

When it comes to cyberbullying, the report also paints a more optimistic picture than we've seen from some other studies. Only 11 percent "admit to ever engaging in some form of cyberbullying behavior. The report goes on to show that the percentage of teens reporting that they have "ever been bullied or harassed online decreased substantially from 15 percent in 2008 to 8 percent in 2010. Far from an increase, that's an impressive 47 percent decline in two years.

Source: cnet news